TiVo Bolt – What We Know

Dave Zatz —  September 29, 2015 — 87 Comments

We first caught wind of the TiVo Bolt via USPTOCableLabs, and FCC regulatory filings. Info gleaned from premature website publication and industry sources suggest this Series 6 lineup will ultimately replace the four-unit Roamio family with a streamlined trio of 4k-capable models – that all include mobile “Stream” capabilities for unified functionality and marketing. The Bolt line also looks to retain spinning platters for local storage, although DVR hard drive capacity and physical size remain open questions.


Given that web graphic, it’s safe to assume at least two models will feature a stunning new enclosure that will surely elicit strong opinions. Based on the render, I originally had my doubts. But, now having seen it, I quite like and would have no problem displaying the all-white (OTA/Cable) or black & white (OTA) variant on my TV stand. Beyond aesthetics, I assume that asymmetrical arch also helps with heat dissipation. Continue Reading…

Philips Keeps Hue Going

Joel Ward —  September 29, 2015 — 14 Comments

I have been a fan of the Philips Hue wireless bulb system for a while now, including how to extend it using other brands of ZigBee bulbs and home automation hubs. So much so that I even did a presentation at my company’s Ideas Festival about how devices like Hue have enabled my son to break out of his shell and interact with his environment.

Philips Hue Go and Hue Disco

Over the summer, the Philips Hue Go portable lamp was added to the Hue lineup. I have to be honest: I didn’t even notice it at first. Which is odd because I love this stuff. A few weeks ago I had some Amazon gift card money burning a hole in my pocket so I was browsing for something interesting to buy when I came across the Hue Go lamp. It seemed totally frivolous so I had to order one! Continue Reading…

All the new goodies!

Dave Zatz —  September 28, 2015 — 5 Comments

‘Tis the season…

With two A-list shooters landing within ten days of each other this fall, a choice had to be made. Having taken the Call of Duty multiplayer beta for a spin in August, I quite prefer it to last year’s edition… but quickly grew bored. I do appreciate the swiped Titanfall jetpacks and wallrunning, but it’s mostly the same old, same old. So I went ahead and cancelled my Black Ops III pre-order and moved onto Halo.


My UNSC Army enlistment is long and storied plus, despite my occasional CoD successes, I’ve generally experienced a higher “fun” quotient in the Halo universe. So, I headed on over to Amazon to pre-order Halo 5: Guardians… as I have zero desire to fight the crowds at Gamestop. And it turns out Amazon Prime members receive $10 off during checkout. Bonus!

Amazon Prime Member Savings
Members of Amazon Prime qualify for a lower price on this item when shipped and sold by Amazon. Add it to your cart and see the discount at the final check out page.

The Roku 4 Has Been Spotted

Dave Zatz —  September 28, 2015 — 16 Comments

As you know, we’ve been tracking the Roku 4 and fully anticipate it’ll stream 4k – like the revised Amazon Fire TV. Further, via FCC filings, we know the Roku 4 (4400) moves from WiFi Direct to Bluetooth — perhaps suggesting Roku will make another run at gaming, which is also one of the new Apple TV’s marketing angles. And now, via AFTVNews, an image of the new streamer has appeared… that fully confirms this model will indeed go by “Roku 4.” Further, we can see Roku has redesigned the enclosure to accommodate whatever circuitry is required for its new capabilities. As to timing and pricing, I assume we’ll receive official word either later this week or next… as I have intel that indicates hardware is en route.


I Dumped T-Mobile for Verizon

Dave Zatz —  September 27, 2015 — 46 Comments

After nearly two years on T-Mobile, I’ve returned to Verizon. T-Mobile offers the best rates (of the major carriers), the most progressive policies, and stellar customer support. Yet, despite network improvements, their coverage continues to lag the competition (in the places I find myself) and we’ve concluded reliability must be our priority. Even in my high density, supposedly well-served area, it’s been kind of ridiculous driving home from work with my phone pinned between my sun visor and roof, while squinting from the glare, in hopes of preventing calls from being disrupted in some way (and rarely succeeding).

Verizon dropping the BS “activation” fee allowed me to contemplate coming back home. And, once in store to review the options, they made an offer we couldn’t refuse. My older iPhone 5s net a lofty $300 trade-in valuation — about double what T-Mobile and Gazelle offered. And, as an existing FiOS customer, $200 was knocked off iPhone 6s hardware pricing via some sort of promotion I wasn’t aware of but gladly took part in. To seal the deal, a few months down the line, I’ll be getting a $100 “port-in” credit as a “new” customer.

Our T-Mobile two-line plan included unlimited everything for $100/month, whereas the new Verizon plan runs $120 for a shared 12GB of LTE data. It’s obviously not as generous and at a higher rate. But, again, we’re willing to pay a premium for the best network. And our long national nightmare is over.

While we’re not exactly fond of Sling Media’s business practices, we remain enamored of their placeshifting technology which remains best of breed. Similarly, the DISH Hopper offers one of best DVR experiences out there. Indeed – the latest, greatest Hopper includes Slingbox capabilities to catch your content around the house or beyond via smartphone, tablet, computer, or streaming box. So it’s quite curious to see the Slingbox-powered Hopper Go pass through the FCC today (under the Echostar banner).

Is this a companion product, perhaps something akin to the TiVo Stream, to bring placeshifting capabilities to less full featured DVRs? Related, could this imply the DISH Hopper 3 doesn’t natively transcode and stream content? And given the “Go” designation, could this also provide video offload capabilities to catch that recording on a subway or plane without connectivity?

WWE Muscles Its Way Onto TiVo

Dave Zatz —  September 25, 2015 — 15 Comments

wwe-tivoI’ve got some good news and I’ve got some bad news. Which are one in the same. It’s a matter of perspective, I suppose.

As we twiddle our thumbs in anticipation of TiVo Bolt, the DVR pioneer’s next streaming app has presented itself. Nope, it’s not HBO, Showtime, nor ESPN. It’s WWE. Although I’m not overly excited, there are clearly a couple of you who will be once the app hits within the next few weeks. Continue Reading…